Skip to main content

Full text of "Alaskan glacier studies of the National Geographic Society in the Yakutat Bay, Prince William Sound and lower Copper River regions"

See other formats

Glacial Studies in Yakutat Bay. Among the many glaciers of Alaska those of a few areas have been singled out for more continuous and thorou'gh study than others, either because of their accessibility or because they possess features of unusual interest. Of these areas three have attracted the greatest attention: (1) the glaciers of Glacier Bay and vicinity, (2) the glaciers of Yakutat Bay and vicinity, including the Malaspina Glacier; and (3) the glaciers of the Prince William Sound region, including those of lower Copper Biver. The National Geographic Society's Alaskan Expeditions of 1909 and 1910 studied the glaciers of the last two regions and this report deals mainly with the results of these studies, commencing, in this chapter, with the glaciers of Yakutat Bay and vicinity.
The results of the work in 1909-10, in so far as the Yakutat Bay region is concerned, are so intimately related to, and in large part dependent upon the results of previous studies that it will be necessary to briefly incorporate in this book the more significant points determined by the earlier studies, making this, therefore, a summary of several seasons' work.
The investigations of the glaciers of the Yakutat Bay region began in 1890, with Professor Russell's famous exploration of the Malaspina and adjacent glaciers in his first expedition1 to Mt. St. Elias,2 and was continued in 1891 in his second expedition to St. Elias.3 Both before and after Russell's expeditions there were other explorations in this region, notably those of Schwatka, Topham, Bryant, and the Duke of the Abruzzi, but none that contributed much that bears directly upon the problems considered in this report,4 until the Harriman Expedition in 1899.B The next visit of a scientific party having glacial study for its object was the United States Geological Survey Expedition of 1905 in charge of the senior author and to which the junior author was attached as special physiographic assistant.6 The glaciers and glacial phenomena observed during this expe-
1 Under the auspices of the National Geographic Society and the IT. S. Geological Survey.
«Russell, I. C., An Expedition to Mt. St. Elias, Alaska; Nat. Geog. Mag., Vol. ffl, 1891, pp. fiS^208.
• Russell, I. C., Second Expedition to Mt. St. Elias; Thirteenth Ann. Rept., TJ. S. GeoL Survey, pt. 2, 1892, pp. 1-91; Amer. Journ. Sci., Vol. XLHI, 1892, pp. 169-182; Jburn. Geol., Vol. I, 1893, pp. 219-245.
< For bibliography of the Yakutat Bay region see I. C. Russell, Nat. Geog. Mag., Vol. DJ, 1891, pp. 58-74, and R. S. Tarr, Professional Paper 64, TJ. S. Geol. Survey, 1909, pp. 20-26.
' Gilbert, G. K, Glaciers and Glaciation: Harriman Alaska Expedition, Vol. HI, 1904, 231 pages; particularly pp. 46-70, 104,170, and 209.
•A grant of money for this purpose was made by the American Geographical Society of New York.